What is glaucoma? It is an irregularity of the optic nerve, that if gone untreated, and can lead to permanent blindness.
What is an optic nerve? Think of the optic nerve as a power cord. Each eye has one in the very back, that 'plugs in' pertinent visual information to the brain.
How do you check for glaucoma? Comprehensive dilated eye exams with a primary eye care professional are crucial for glaucoma screenings. There is a fluid surrounding the nerve that sometimes creates too much (intraocular) pressure. This is measured with either a puff of air into the eyes or using a probe on a microscope. Dilated eye exams open the pupil, allowing the eye doctor to thoroughly assess the nerve's size, shape, & health. Additional tests may include testing side vision with a visual field test and in depth imaging tests.
Who is affected by glaucoma? Any patient over the age of 60 should be screened, annually, for glaucoma. African American & Latino patients are twice as likely to be affected, and should start having regular screenings after the age of 40. More than half of patients with glaucoma are unaware that they have the disease, because it tends to affect peripheral (side) vision first. Other important risk factors: family history of glaucoma, smoking, and an unhealthy diet.
What is the treatment for glaucoma? Currently, there isn't a cure for glaucoma, but it can be treated with drops to lower eye pressure and/or surgery. The most important tool for preserving vision is early detection. Protect your sight & schedule an annual, dilated eye exam today!
written by Dr. Camille Cohen, O.D.